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TOKYO, May 5. /TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit his native Yamaguchi Prefecture in the southwest of the main island of Honshu, Sankei Shimbun said on Thursday.
According to the newspaper, Abe wants to discuss this idea with the Russian leader during their meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 6.
If this invitation is accepted, the Japanese side would like to work on concrete details so that Putin’s visit to Yamaguchi could be held this year, the newspaper said, adding that a meeting in a province in a relax atmosphere will make it possible to address the territorial dispute in detail.
Japan’s Prime Minister will offer an eight-point plan of bilateral cooperation with Russia at his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, NHK television channel said on Thursday.
According to NHK, Abe’s plan provides for closer cooperation with Russia in such spheres as oil and gas production, development of ports and airports, development of the Far East’ economy, including its agrarian sector, as well as cooperation in the modernization of urban infrastructure, including addressing the problem of traffic jams, improvement of water supplies and sewage systems, and construction of state-of-the-art medical centers.
Prime Minister Abe will offer this program along with efforts towards signing a peace treaty between the two countries and settling the problems of ‘northern territories,’ as the Southern Kurils are referred to in Japan.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday Moscow hopes that the Putin-Abe meeting will contribute to creating a good and constructive atmosphere in relations between Russia and Japan. "We hope that Friday’s contacts with Prime Minister Abe will contribute to shaping a working and constructive atmosphere in bilateral relations, which, in turn, will make possible the development and progress in the expert work [on the Kuril Islands]," Peskov said.
However, in his words, the Kremlin does not expect immediate progress in settling the Kuril Islands issue after this meeting. "One can easily surmise that this theme will be touched upon in this or that fashion. But expecting instant progress will be hardly possible, because this is a rather sensitive issue. It requires scrupulous, long and systematic efforts at the level of experts," Peskov said.
On May 6, Abe will fly to Sochi where his meeting with Putin is due to be held. The Japanese Cabinet earlier said that "the entire range of the Japanese-Russian relations, including the peace treaty issue," would be discussed in Russia, as well as a number of international issues.
The Kremlin press service has confirmed that "during the forthcoming talks it is planned to discuss the current state and the prospects of bilateral relations in trade, economy and humanitarian areas." The two sides are also expected to exchange views on the topical international issues. Abe will be in Russia with a visit at the invitation of the Russian leader.
Russia and Japan have consistently held talks at the highest level to fully mend bilateral relations and sign a peace treaty. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the USSR. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and the Habomai Islands is challenged by Japan.